Warning: Some readers may find some of this article distressing.
AN INQUEST into the deaths of an Irish mother and three sons has ruled they were unlawfully killed.
Clodagh Hawe and her sons Liam, Niall and Ryan were killed by husband and father Alan Hawe at their family home in Castlerahan Co Cavan.
In line with the recommendation of the Coroner Dr Mary Flanagan, the jury ruled Alan Hawe's death a suicide, caused by hanging.
The family of five were discovered at their home on August 29 2016.
Mrs Hawe was found face down on the sofa dressed in her pyjamas and dressing gown, and had suffered fatal axe wounds to the head and neck.
In the case of Niall and Liam, unlawful killing was recorded and the cause of death was stab wounds to their necks.
In the case of Ryan, unlawful killing was also recorded with cause of death judged to be a deep incision to his neck.
Earlier today, Professor Harry Kennedy, who carried out a report for the coroner based on Mr Hawes' medical records and suicide note, said he had progressed from a long standing depressive illness to a severe depressive episode with psychotic symptoms.
Yesterday, the inquest heard evidence from Mrs Hawe's mother, Mary Coll, who found a note on the door of their home near Ballyjamesduff, asking for gardaí to be called.
She told the inquest that once she saw the note she 'knew [Alan] had done something terrible.'
In a statement following the ruling at the inquest today, Clodagh's family said: "In August 2016, we lost our daughter and sister Clodagh, and her lovely sons Liam, Niall and Ryan in the most horrific circumstances.
"They were savagely and brutally killed by Alan Hawe in a premeditated and calculated manner. We are aware that the inquest has a limited role in law in that its function is restricted in establishing how where and when our loved ones died.
"However it is clear from the evidence presented that Clodagh and her boys were killed in a sequence that the eldest and most likely to provide effective resistance were killed first and that they were executed in a manner which rendered them unable to cry out for help.
"The inquest does not address why Alan Hawe committed this savagery, but his councillor has said that he was concerned about his position as a pillar of the community.
"We are aware that he was concerned at his imminent fall from that position and the breakdown of his marriage."
The bodies of Mrs Hawe and her sons were laid to rest at St Mary's Church in Castlerahan.
The body of Alan Hawe was exhumed from the family grave earlier this year to be cremated.